My passion for viewing pop culture through a faith lens is well known. I use music, movie and TV references in my sermons, Sunday School lessons (Currently Elizabeth and I are leading a class on the biblical theme of “justice” in popular TV shows.), Sunday Evening Youth Group, and the occasional church newsletter column or in posts on this blog. Every few months, a colleague in ministry will send me a Facebook message asking for TV/movie illustrations that would work well with a Youth Conference or Retreat that they are keynoting. The ability to identify visual illustrations to use in ministry comes fairly easy and I enjoy being able to share those connections between faith and what’s on the tube/screen.
But now it’s time to take this passion I have to the next level. So my aspiration is to write a book that would be more accessible to a wider audience–those working actively in ministry in their faith communities and the average layperson who is looking for ways to enhance their spiritual journey through personal and/or small group studies on some of the most incredible stories of our times.
My plan or next steps (starting in January and continuing through May) is to devote two hours each week to take notes while watching a TV show or film that I will use for the book, and an hour each Monday to examine the notes, do further research and develop the structure of the book. The focus of the book will be on the following theme: understanding God’s love and justice through visual parables. Although I will draw on numerous scripture passages pertaining to God’s love and justice, my main scripture point of reference will be The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians in which the apostle explains to 1st Century Jewish-Christians about the importance of building community or creating unity in the love of God that seeks to do justice while also resisting the destructive powers and principalities (both physical and spiritual) of the world.
The visual parable illustrations to be included in the book will be LOST; Fringe; Chuck; Community; MASH; Law & Order; Hary Potter Years 1-7; Star Wars Saga; The Lord of the Rings Trilogy; The Matrix Trilogy; Batman: The Dark Knight; I-Robot; District 9; Inception; All the President’s Men; The Shawshank Redemption; Cool Hand Luke; Network; The Mission; Dead Poets Society; Places In The Heart; Good Night and Good Luck; Gangs of New York; Half-Nelson; Be Kind, Rewind; Freedom Writers; Shutter Island; Alice in Wonderland; Avatar, Inglorious Basterds; Up in The Air; The Hurt Locker; The Social Network; The Fighter (the latter two I haven’t see but are receiving much critical praise and that I anticipate will be a good fit for my project) and possible a few others.
I’ll keep you updated on how it goes. And feel free to leave any suggestions about my latest aspiration here or share your own aspirations and action steps for 2011.